Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Did I Really Just Say That?

Now that everyone is on the mend and catching up on sleep, we are all in a much better mood. Last night, after picking up Michael's new bike, we all relaxed and ended up having a major tickle wrestle battle. There was much giggling and a few wedgies were given. The perfect night in my little world.

After we were done, Andy left the room to exercise and Michael and I continued to chat. I don't remember what we were talking about, but Michael made a comment about when he's 92. Before I knew what was happening, I heard these words coming out of my mouth. "When you are 92, I'll be dust."

What!...where did that come from and why on earth did I say it?

Needless to say, Michael found them to be upsetting.

"But mommy, you'll still be real, right?" Which is his way of asking if I'll still be alive.

Crap, crap, crap. Do I lie and comfort him? Do I distract and try to avoid the topic? I was completely cornered knowing that I couldn't do either. So, Michael and I had a little discussion about how people die when they get older while he cried and clung to me. It was both sweet and sad and I feel like a complete ass for slipping to begin with.

As a mom, I want so badly to protect him from everything. I don't want him to worry that someone he loves might die. But, the reality is that one of these days he won't just have to learn about the idea of people dying, he'll have to face it as a reality. And there is nothing in this world that I can do to protect him from that. The best I can do is prepare him with knowledge and make sure he knows that I'm always there if he needs me.

I assure you, the mama bear in me does not like this at all. Not one little bit.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Letters I Wanted to Compose this Weekend

This weekend was very cold and we were all still cranky from a week with the stomach bug. Nothing major to report on as the most exciting thing we did over the weekend was buy Michael a new bike that won't be ready for pickup until this evening.

I was, however, tempted to write several letters over the weekend.

Dear man at the car wash,

Is it really necessary to keep your radio blaring while you vacuum your car out only three feet away from my car?

Signed,
Annoyed

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Dear Wawa,

Thank you so much for including bathrooms in all of your new stores. And, for keeping them clean. And, for putting them in the same general location in each store. This is very helpful when you are rushing a whining kid who is holding his butt to a stall as quickly as possible.

Signed,
Grateful

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Dear Home Owner's Association,

That tree fell down a month ago. You need to call the landscaping business and get it removed. Now! Before it kills the grass. That's what we are paying you for, so do it. Damn it.

Signed,
Pissed

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Dear Plants Vs. Zombies,

Please, please, please come out with a sequel.

Signed,
A mother who can finally make dinner without interruptions

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Dear people in the produce section of the grocery store,

I'm sorry about the scene, but would you have rather me to have given in? I know it was loud, but it was a teachable moment that will pay dividends in the long term.

Signed,
I'll mind my business, you mind yours

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Dear anyone who markets anything to kids,

You suck!

Signed,
Why did I just eat that Kit Kat?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Good Idea Gone Bad

Last Friday we had beautiful spring weather. As everyone in the neighborhood got home, we all headed outside with our kids and spent some time catching up while the kids played. After a very cold and wet winter is was more than welcome.

On Saturday morning, I decided that I was going to take Michael for a walk in the park while Andy got his workout in. It wasn't as warm out, but I figured it's the day before spring, so we put on some hoodies and headed out. Now, being the smart woman I am, I realized that Michael was going to get distracted and drag his feet on the walk, so I turned it into a scavenger hunt. I wrote out a list of ten things which I knew we could find in the park. I included things that we would find at different points on the two mile walk so that he would stay interested and want to rush ahead searching.

It was a great idea. A brilliant idea, if I may say so myself.

Well, it was a good idea until we actually got to the park. It turns out that you cannot wish it to be spring. It was 52 degrees, overcast, and windy. The hoodies were not warm enough. I decided that if we kept moving, we would stay warm, and since we were on a scavenger hunt, that would be no problem.

Except for the fact that Michael wasn't motivated by the scavenger hunt. Actually, that's not true. Michael was motivated by the hunt, he just wasn't as motivated by it as he was motivated by the desire to slow us down. I don't know how he does it, but he always manages to figure out what my true goal is, and then manages to figure out the perfect way to thwart it. So, instead of a quick paced, exciting scavenger hunt, Michael was dawdling. And we were both getting colder by the minute.

There was only one thing left to do. I stooped down, "OK Michael, climb on up." Then, I carried him on my back. Not for the entire walk, but for most of it. We collected all but one of the items on our list. (There were no geese to be found. They are like cockroaches around where I live and they flock to the park by the hundreds all winter long, but the one time I want them there, nothing.) We stayed warm. I even got a great workout. But, it was not the walk in the park I expected. When we got home Michael even told Andy, "Mommy had a bad idea."

Thanks kid.

There was, however, one moment of the entire ordeal that made it worth the effort.

As we were coming around the loop to the 1 mile mark, we encountered a couple out for a walk with their two small children. Each parent was pushing a stroller and the woman was clearly annoyed with how slowly her husband was walking. She kept snapping at him telling him to go faster. He kept laughing at her telling her he was going his own pace. As they were bickering, I picked up my pace to get past them. As I blew by them I hear the woman, completely exasperated, say, "Look, you're being lapped by that mom AND SHE'S CARRYING HER SON ON HER BACK!"

Damn straight! All forty pounds of him. Bitches.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Michael, in a Nutshell

It's finally warming up enough to allow for the neighborhood kids to play outside in the evenings. Last night, we played with M and her baby brother. One of the more common things the kids do is to trace each others outlines on the road and then color them in. (And yes, before they color them in, they do look like chalk outlines of murder victims.)

We outlined M first. She laid down and spread her arms and legs to make it easy for us. Then, we gave her ballet slippers, a tutu, and pink hair. It was adorable.

Next up was me. I laid down, spread my arms and legs out, and they traced me. I got multicolored striped pants and a clover on my shirt for St. Patty's day. The orange fro was not so charming, but overall, pretty cute.

Finally, it was Michael's turn. He laid down and started twisting his arms and legs into weird positions. I asked him what he was doing.

His reply, "Making things more complicated."

And that, is Michael. At least he owns up to it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Randomness

Hey, check it out, I'm really on the ball this week. I've already managed to become too incoherent to pull together a full blog post and it's only Monday! Someone should probably warn my boss that my normal Friday punchiness may start early this week.

So let's see, what's going on:

  • I stepped outside to take the trash out and noticed that one of the 30 foot pines in the back had blown over. The crazy weather over the past 1.5 years has really taken a toll on our community's landscaping. What's strange is that the pine that went over looked healthy, but the one next to it looks like it's about to croak. Didn't see that coming.
  • We are registering Michael for Kindergarten this week. I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around it. Not so much his age, as the logistics of the whole thing. The hours are not conducive to any work schedule. We were hoping to be able to work something with J's parents because they work later shifts than we do, but none of us start that late.
  • I did another 5+ mile run this weekend. Let's just say moving from 3 to 4 miles was much, much easier than going from 4 to 5 miles. I'm a little concerned about working up to 6+ miles by June.
  • When I got home from work on Friday I discovered that we had several clusters of crocuses in bloom. Granted, not the most impressive flowers out there, but so welcome after the five gazillion snow storms we had this year.
  • We had friends over for dinner last night. They brought their two year old son, who is adorable. However, seeing Michael towering over him made me realize just how much he has grown up over the past few years. It's bittersweet, that's for sure.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Soft Touch

I'm a soft touch, or at least that's what my dad always calls me. He watches me with Michael and sees how quickly I am to respond to Michael's tears. I don't think my dad is necessarily saying it as a compliment, but since I get it from him, I take it that way.

I'm pretty sure that I do cater to Michael's needs a little too much. I try not to hover because Michael does need to learn to make his way in the world, but I want him to know that I am there if he needs me. I mean, he is only 4.75. It's a hard balance to find, and if I err on the side of hovering, well, I'm a mom, what can I say?

I've mentioned before that both Andy and I go to work very early every day. So early that we actually had to switch out schedules to a later start time when Michael started daycare because they don't open until 6:30. (Slackers) I've got it timed so that we dance to the last song of Wow Wow Wubzy, then head out the door. We normally get to school by about 6:35. Typically, Michael is the first or second child to arrive in the morning. When we get there, we take his stuff to his room, then come down to the 2 year old room where all the children go until their teachers get there. I always take some kind of dry breakfast for him and place it on the table in case he gets hungry.

This morning there were already five children in the room when we got there. Michael was very hesitant when he entered the room and saw all of them. He seemed very uncomfortable with the change in routine. Trying to keep things normal, I placed his pop tart on the table for him. However, there was a child sitting in his normal spot, so I had to put the pop tart at another spot. I walked back to him, hugged him and tried to leave. He hugged me and wouldn't let me go. It tried extracting myself a few times, but he wouldn't let go.

I asked him what was wrong, and he asked me to take his pop tart back up to his lunch box. I explained that he should have it downstairs in case he gets hungry. (In other words, I didn't feel like walking all the way back up to his classroom.) Nope, didn't work. He started begging. I finally realized that he was afraid that one of the other kids was going to eat his pop tart.

This is where I wonder what to do. Do I just leave and let him deal with it? Part of me thinks I should. He needs to learn how to handle this stuff on his own. Kindergarten isn't that far away. The other part of me can feel his distress and it just seems wrong to me to leave him to deal with it when I can help him so easily.

So, I proposed a compromise. I suggested that he give the pop tart to his teacher and have her take care of it for him. He seemed satisfied with this approach, and was able to see me off once his pop tart was safe and secure.

As a mom, I'm going to have to find this balance thousands of times on Michael's journey through childhood. I just hope that most of the time, I make the best decision.

As for the pop tart? I'd say there is a greater than 50% chance that after worrying about it so much he never even ate it. Because that's how we roll. Worrying about nothing.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm Hungry

One of the biggest mysteries I've wondered about in raising Michael is how can such a tall kid survive on so little food? For those of you with kids that don't eat, you know what I mean. It just doesn't seem possible for a child to be able to survive on several cups of milk and three bites of a piece of bread with butter a day. Not only has Michael proven that he can survive on that, he even grows. Like a weed. Clearly, what he's been eating is enough, but I don't know how it's possible.

Last week, I watched my neighbor's 14 month old accost her for a package of lunch meat and once he got it away from her, he started shoving the meat into his mouth as fast as he could. I watched him eat more food in 10 minutes than Michael would eat in a day when he was that age. I'm not even exaggerating. Amazingly, he's still a tiny little thing. I'm pretty sure Michael was several inches teller at that age.

So imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when Michael actually started saying, "I'm hungry." It's something he says so rarely that I stopped dead in my tracks and asked him to repeat himself. "I'm hungry."

I jumped on that pretty quickly. He downed an entire PB&J (without the crust). Wow! Another night we got take out and he actually asked for chicken fingers for dinner. That was the night that he not only ate some chicken fingers, but he mooched my pizza! He has also downed two bowls of mac 'n cheese in one sitting as well.

It's nice to see him finally starting to eat. He's even branching out and trying noodles that come in different shapes and chicken that is cooked in different ways. Still no luck with veggies, but he's also taken to mooching fruit, so it's not all bad.

Not only do I find this new found desire for food confusing, I think he does as well. Before I made dinner last night I asked him if he was hungry. He gave his normal, "NO!" in response, so I didn't make him anything. After making a quick pot of chili, I called Andy in for dinner. I heard Michael put down his game and watched as he sulked his way into the dinner table. He begrudgingly climbed into his chair and stated that he didn't want to sit there. Since I hadn't cooked dinner for him, Andy and I both told him he didn't need to stay if he didn't want to. Hell, we couldn't even figure out why he had come in to the room in the first place.

So, with tears in his eyes he informed me, "I want Mac n' Cheese!" Turns out, he was hungry. I just don't think he was very happy about it. I mean, how dare his tummy make him get up and sit at the table like the rest of the family. This hunger thing seems to be interfering with his goal to never eat voluntarily. I can't say I'm upset either. I'm glad his own hunger is finally winning the battle for me, because frankly, I was out of ideas.